Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Culture of Innovation

You know, and I know, that without the right culture of innovation in an organization, the push to become more innovative will undoubtedly fail. You have seen this happen, and so have I. But building a successful culture of innovation is very difficult – only a few companies have been successful where many have failed.

With the release of the Nano, the Tata group has recently been in the “innovation spotlight”. I love what Tata has done in terms of really disruptive innovation – very few companies would have the audacity to attempt what they have. And it turns out that the culture of innovation at Tata is one of their many strengths.

Read this article to find out why.

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Collaboration Study – Findings from Cisco

In December 2008, Cisco conducted the first formal segmentation study of collaboration tool users. Their objective was to understand how today’s workers collaborate, which tools they use, and how they believe those tools affect productivity, innovation, and cost savings.

The survey studied 800 people in a wide variety of U.S. medium-sized and enterprise organizations who:
● Spend at least 20 percent of time at work using a network-connected computer
● Use a mobile phone or handheld device
● Participated in two collaborative activities within the past month
The researchers conducted a segmentation analysis, separating individuals into distinct groups based on a large set of attitudinal and behavioral variables.
There are some excellent findings here – see them in this article.

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Platforms for Collaboration Powering Innovation

Many of you know that I am a strong advocate of the notion that increased collaboration powers innovation. There is an excellent article by Professor Satish Nambisan from Stanford on exactly this topic. He proceeds to outline some of the governance models that are required for effective collaboration. Most of us ignore these sorts of models and just plug our day-to-day activities into the framework we call “collaboration” – with very mixed success.

Here is his abstract. Enjoy reading the entire article.

Some of the brightest ideas for social change grow in the spaces between organizations and sectors. Yet few organizations have systems that make collaboration happen. To foster innovation, organizations need to develop places where they can come together and work creatively—that is, platforms for collaboration. In this article, a management expert identifies three kinds of collaboration platforms— exploration, experimentation, and execution—and then outlines what organizations can do to put these platforms to work for them.

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How do you motivate people to innovate?

Excellent TED talk on what motivates people. Worth watching for sure.

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The Value of Online Collaboration – Where do we miss the boat!

Today Frost & Sullivan reports that online collaboration is proving to be an effective way for businesses to save time and money on travel, while maintaining high level of productivity. The arising trend indicates that companies who discovered the advantages of online collaboration are unlikely to return to old ways of conducting business when the economic conditions improve. In addition, collaborating on the web improves the ‘green’ image of companies, as more firms are looking into ways to reduce the usage of limited resources, and are striving to become environmentally conscious.

The question in my mind is: is everyone “really” collaborating? By what measure? To what effect?

At a recent course I ran on Connected Innovation, i took a “hands up” poll. There were twenty people in the room. I asked only two questions. The first was “How many of you work for organizations where the mantra is “collaborate” and the CEO talks about how collaborative the organization is?”. Almost twenty people put up their hand.

I then asked: “And how many of you feel that you really are collaborating with your peers, sharing, and effectively solving problems together?”. Only TWO put up their hands!

We jump very quickly from “Let’s collaborate” to the technology of “collaboration”. But we ignore the governance models that are essential for true collaboration. Without these models, the use of technology is probably 50% effective, at best.

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More on China and Innovation

Its is really interesting to see the press coverage China is receiving in the Innovation space. In this article from Forbes, the following statement is made:

“My hunch says that in the future anything that has to do with scale will likely come out of China or even India.”

Other points are:

  1. If you combine the mobile access, people getting into the system, and the database 51Job has for employment opportunities, the numbers of the largest player in Japan or Monster.com look like peanuts.
  2. What is the one core competence that China has which will drive innovation? One answer is scale.
  3. I think that there will be some cleantech deployments that China might experience earlier and faster. Wind power is certainly one, as is the use of LED lights to reduce energy requirements. That may lead to innovation

There is a huge amount of activity taking place in China with respect to Innovation – especially Open Innovation. See other entries on this blog.

You should read the entire article from Forbes.

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Govt 2.0 and Innovation

It’s very interesting to see the number of governments focussing on Government 2.0. Its refreshing really – policy makers stopping to think about how the recent trends in Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing can impact the way policy is defined. In my own country, the government has set up a specific Gov 2.0 committee. In the US, the talk is around openness and collaboration. It will be extremely interesting to see where this debate takes us, and whether an true Open Innovation approach can be adopted. To quote a recent Forbes article on this topic:

The White House is telling its agencies to pursue an ” open innovation“-approach to government, be visionary in their spending requests, and focus on “transformative” projects that help the climate, energy, life expectancy and the economy.

Read more from the entire article

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